This year, Women’s Health Week adopted a theme focused on empowering women to make informed health decisions by providing easily digestible information. NARI’s Director, Professor Briony Dow, emphasises the need to recognise and address the unique challenges faced by older women.
“I urge everyone to consider what this means for older women. How can we ensure we actively consider the myriad of challenges women face as they age, and how health care systems, government policies, and communities can better support women to age well,” he said.
Recent commitments in funding and policy by both the Australian and State Governments present substantial opportunities to invest in initiatives that enable women to lead longer, healthier and more productive lives. Notably, the Victorian Government has unveiled plans to establish the Victorian Women’s Health Advisory Council, overseeing the allocation of $153.9 million towards reshaping and enhancing the treatment of women’s health issues within the state.
One glaring issue Professor Dow highlights is the persistent exclusion of older women from clinical trials. Many risk factors and symptomatology profiles for various health conditions are predominantly based on male data, often leading to dismissal or insufficient attention to women’s health concerns, particularly as they age.
To combat this, Professor Dow underscores the importance of putting older women’s health at the forefront and investing in research that addresses their specific needs.
“It’s time to put older women’s health on the agenda and invest in research that is more specific to them – for example continence, dementia, physical activity, falls and balance, and psychosocial and mental health,” Professor Dow said.
On the horizon, the NARI Annual Summit is poised to showcase pioneering programs dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of older women. This year’s Summit, themed “Menopause and Beyond,” will delve into how older women can be empowered to proactively manage their health as they age.
Professor Dow said, “We’re bringing together experts from across the field to share their insights on what it means to age as a woman in Australia, and how we can tailor support systems, programs and policies to improve outcomes for older women.”